Arthur Ventures Taps West Coast VC Ryan Kruizenga As New Partner

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Arthur Ventures has named Ryan Kruizenga as their newest partner, now the third investor in Minneapolis next to Patrick Meenan and Andy Christensen.

He brings a decade of investment experience to the table, most notably with Summit Partners and Mainsail Partners.

“It feels like AV is really set up to scale here,” Meenan says of the the addition.

“His top notch experience reflects our values to the core and we happen to have a long history together as we started our careers together at Piper Jaffray 10 years ago.”

Kruizenga is already on the ground here having just moved from San Francisco just last week. Let’s learn more about where his head is at:

What is your background in finance that led to where you are today?

I grew up on a farm in western Wisconsin and came to Minnesota to attend the University of St. Thomas as an Entrepreneurship major. Shortly after graduating in 2004, I joined Piper Jaffray as an Investment Banking Analyst in 2005.  It was the lowest of the low in the hierarchy but it was a great springboard for me and an opportunity to grow — I ended up meeting both Patrick Meenan there back in 2006 and also my wife!

We moved out to California in 2007, when my wife began working at HP and I joined Summit Partners. In 2011 I left Summit to pursue my own entrepreneurial ambitions and then landed at Mainsail Partners in 2013 up until this year.

What appealed to you about Arthur Ventures?

Many things…their values, beliefs, speed, portfolio…the way they proactively pursue deals.

It’s interesting how much more than money matters – like the kinds of terms or advisory value.

Maybe if you were a VC back in 96 you could sit back in the office and the good deals would just come to you, but we don’t presume that to be the case anymore. Arthur operates on the premise that the best opportunities for us aren’t going to just find us by chance but because of our reputation and hustle.

What is unique about your skillset that you bring to the table with Arthur Ventures?

I’ve got years of experience with global investment firms, where I saw thousands of businesses and hundreds of closings. Recognizing what success looks like over time. I come from a late stage world and Arthur is more of an early stage investor, which can bring balance.

What’s your first order of business?

To close my first investment!

What kind of tech companies do you have experience with and what excites you?

My career at Summit and Mainsail has consisted of mostly software, but some broader technology companies as well.  I’ve been involved with about $300m of cumulative deals. In terms of what excites me, I want to pursue interests in infrastructure software, communications and financial technology.  I think about two main things: very strong secular growth areas and industries where software uptake remains relatively low.

What’s your take on Minnesota’s technology industry?

I think that relative to the size of this market there’s a lot of potential.  Minnesota has always punched above its weight class and the tech sector is no exception. Maybe it’s the weather? There’s so much good work to be done and the Twin Cities has already been recognized in that sense.

When you say potential, what do you see as the gap between where Minnesota is that it’s true potential?

More entrepreneurs starting great companies! I’m guessing that if you talked to an entrepreneur they would say more capital, but there’s a difference between having a business plan and having an investable business. I think more of the latter will prove to be Minnesota’s edge eventually.

How much dry power does Arthur Ventures currently have?

Our current fund $45M fund is 60% committed, 40% dry powder.

What do you look for in an entrepreneur?

Resourcefulness, humility and communication.  Those three things combined are what defines an entrepreneurial leader.

What is your perception of the venture capital market currently?

The best companies will be able to not only raise the capital they need but on the terms they want.

Is there anything you would like to add?

There are lots of world class tech companies outside of Silicon Valley run by great entrepreneurs who don’t care where they happen to be located — and those are who I want to meet.

Comments

  • http://twitter.com/casey__allen Casey Allen

    You joined a stellar team, Ryan.

    Welcome back to the Midwest. It’s an exciting time to be here.

  • http://pmeenan.com Patrick Meenan

    Having three team members here locally will make us even more accessible to MN entrepreneurs. All four of us (me, ryan, james, andy) are equally empowered to lead investments, so feel free to reach out to any or all of us if you want to get in touch. Emails are on our website.

  • Jason Holmers

    Welcome Ryan and family back to Minnesota! I highly recommend any entrepreneur looking for advice or capital to connect with Ryan.

  • James Burgum

    Welcome back Ryan! We are very excited to continue to expand the Arthur Ventures team here in MN!

  • Phil Wocken

    Welcome back to the Midwest, Ryan. Sounds like a great match between your experience and AV’s Midas touch. Excited to see the magic that’s created by you, Patrick and Andy here in Minneapolis. It’s a great time to be in #MNTech!

  • Jade Barker

    Welcome back to MN. I’m a fan of Patrick, so now I’m really excited to see how things play out for your team!

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